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Jane Anderson

Hershey's Kisses for Valentine's Day - Gluten-Free or Not?

By February 11, 2014

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Hershey's kisses are popular year-round, but I suspect Valentine's Day represents a yearly peak for the iconic candies -- I get plenty of questions around this time of year asking if they're gluten-free or not.

The simple answer is, the basic milk chocolate candy is gluten-free, but some variations on it are not. You can figure out if the particular ones you've got are safe in my short article: Are Hershey's Kisses Gluten-Free?

Lots of other Valentine's candies are gluten-free (although not all of them, by any means) -- if you have more you want to check against the list, here it is again: Gluten-Free Valentine's Candy.

Keep up with the latest in the celiac disease/gluten sensitivity world -- sign up for my newsletter, connect with me on Facebook and Google+, or follow me on Twitter - @AboutGlutenFree.

Photo © Pricegrabber

February 15, 2012 at 12:08 pm
(1) Minnie says:

Where is your proof about Hershey’s candies? All the candies you listed do NOT have gluten ingredients listed on the package.

Some years back, a person who calls herself tec started all this Hershey’s stuff. She called Hershey’s..why I don’t know because their ingredients are clearly listed on the package. She proceded to harrass the person who answered the phone about natural flavors and what their source was. The poor man didn’t have the answers that suited her, so she took it to the forum she participated in. They got all upset and started firing off emails..lol…to Hersheys demanding answers. The entire forum decided that Hersheys wasn’t to be trusted after that and it just started to snowball…

The ingredients are clearly listed on all Hersheys products. Legally, wheat has to be declared. I’ve never encountered rye in candy and they always declare malt. What’s the deal? If it’s not listed, where is the gluten? I’d really like to know!

As far as the miniatures, the malt they list is in the candy with the crispy rice. They just print up a catch-all list for all the candy bars. I don’t see any gluten ingredients in Mr Goodbars! Pfffff…..I bet tec feels mighty powerful!! Lmao! I’m so tired of online untruths!

People….read the ingredient lists!

February 15, 2012 at 1:27 pm
(2) celiacdisease says:

@Minnie, the problem involves more than just the actual ingredients of each individual candy. Something that’s gluten-free by ingredients (to the FDA’s proposed definition of 20 parts per million of gluten) can be cross-contaminated in production enough so that it no longer meets that 20ppm standard. In fact, that’s the problem with the miniatures — they’re produced on the same lines as the miniatures that contain barley malt. It’s terrific that Hershey’s will declare all wheat and malt, but there’s still plenty of confusion surrounding Hershey’s kisses (as my inbox will attest) … and that’s why I wrote this article. As for my “proof” — I called Hershey’s and reported exactly what the company told me. Hershey’s only has three products it considers to be gluten-free to 20 parts per million — and the small milk chocolate Hershey’s kisses are among them.

February 15, 2012 at 2:08 pm
(3) Minnie says:

Quote celiacdiseasesays

As for my “proof” — I called Hershey’s and reported exactly what the company told me. Hershey’s only has three products it considers to be gluten-free to 20 parts per million — and the small milk chocolate Hershey’s kisses are among them. end of quote

If this is truly the case, why are the no gluten warnings on the labels? I would sure love to see their other products tested for gluten levels so we can all lay this matter to rest. Who tested the products they say can be trusted…Hershey’s or an outside company?

On their website they say they list all of the ingredients in the product. It is up to you to decide if you wish to consume them. There is nothing about cross contamination listed. I believe they gave you a cover your a** statement because so many self diagnosed celiacs claim to get sick when they eat Hershey’s. I don’t get sick when I consume their products and my tTg levels are excellent. I am a true biopsy diagnosed celiac.

Hershey’s never acted funny about their products until tec harassed them. Celiacs consumed them just fine until the seed was planted! Sometimes good intentions cause more harm than good!

February 15, 2012 at 2:32 pm
(4) celiacdisease says:

@Minnie, companies are not required by law to disclose gluten ingredients or gluten cross-contamination (see my related article Do food labeling laws require manufacturers to disclose gluten ingredients? for more information). Some companies do, but Hershey’s does not. It’s possible that other Hershey’s candies are gluten-free (again, to 20 parts per million) at times, but are not at other times, depending on the ingredients used in the specific products and where/when they’re manufactured. I personally would rather see companies exercise caution in their labeling and in their statements about gluten than risk getting sick. Of course, once the FDA gluten labeling laws are finalized, companies won’t have any choice — if they claim something is “gluten-free,” it will need to meet that 20ppm standard.

February 15, 2012 at 3:01 pm
(5) Minnie says:

@celiacdisease says Ok….I’m going to change the subject. Where do you stand on Mcdonald’s fries? They test gf yet they actually do list wheat as one of their ingredients. I can consume these just fine too.

When is it…as a celiac community… do we go too far? I have yet to see any celiac drop dead from from any of the products we have discussed! Yet, we have the companies so afraid of lawsuits we are limiting ourselves to only a few products when so many more are actually safe for celiac consumption. It’s kind of a mess actually!

Now, you know companies are going to list possible wheat contamination because of people who get anaphylaxis. It’s a safe bet that Hershey’s would do the same if they figured their products were contaminated. I’ve never seen rye used as a modifer…the only concern is probably barley malt. I seroiusly doubt these products you listed are all unsafe for consumption by a celiac…only the ones that actually declare wheat, rye, and barley malt….oh yes and of course oats.

February 15, 2012 at 4:05 pm
(6) celiacdisease says:

@Minnie, I’m not qualified to take a stand on McDonald’s fries. The company says they meet the 20 parts per million gluten-free standard. I haven’t tested them personally. I don’t eat them, but I don’t eat any fast food at all, so that’s nothing to go by.

As far as whether we, as a community, “go too far” — no, I don’t think we do. You’re fortunate in that you can consume many processed food products without experiencing a reaction, but there are plenty of people who react to lower levels of gluten than you do (see my article on How Much Gluten Can Make Me Sick? for more information).

Also, you’re correct in saying we don’t “drop dead” if we consume gluten, but many people do develop symptoms (in many cases, severe symptoms). We also raise our long-term risks of osteoporosis, additional autoimmune conditions and (in rare cases) cancer. That’s frankly not something I’m personally willing to risk, and so I take major steps to eliminate as much gluten as possible from my diet (well beyond the 20ppm standard).

I frankly applaud companies that decline to label possibly cross-contaminated products “gluten-free,” Since cross-contamination can differ so dramatically from batch to batch (and with different sources of ingredients), I think that’s a wise precaution, and I thank them for not risking my health and the health of others who cannot tolerate gluten. I also wish the FDA would come out with much tighter “gluten-free” standards than 20ppm.

As always, your mileage may vary. We all need to do what we personally feel is enough to safeguard our own health, and to balance that by finding food products that don’t make us sick, and which we enjoy eating.

Regards, Jane

February 16, 2012 at 10:56 am
(7) Minnie says:

Hershey’s kisses don’t say they are gf…..I know because I have a bag of them. The ingredients on the package do read gf…just like most of their products do!

February 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm
(8) kevan says:

folks this argument goes for a lot of foodstuffs, depending on your own intolerance level cross contamination can be a nightmare for some, and mean nothing to others.

if in doubt just phone them up and get there take on things then you can make your own decision whether to eat it or not…

one day all things will be labeled..

March 28, 2012 at 7:08 pm
(9) Minnie says:

This is the forum thread that started the mistrust of Hershey’s.


March 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm
(10) Minnie says:
April 3, 2012 at 12:26 pm
(11) Minnie says:
May 29, 2013 at 10:28 pm
(12) Erica says:

I just want to let people know that I have eaten some Hershey chocolate chips today and I am having a celiac reaction, I have been GF since I was 14 (12 yrs ago) after being diagnosed endoscopicaly with celiac disease. So I am very good and recognizing and remembering every thing I have eaten, down to using the wrong butter dish! I do not think I will trust Hershey with their GF claim anymore. I am very gluten sensitive and have horrible pains and reactions to the smallest consumption of gluten. Depending on your tolerance, make your own decision what you consume and what you do not. Just because you read a label does not mean you know exactly what is in the product. Hershey chipits label says “artificial flavors” I do not trust there is no gluten in the vague artificial flavors ingredient,not to mention all of the chemicals!

September 22, 2013 at 1:58 pm
(13) Hannah says:

Minnie, do you work for Hershey’s? That company clearly sold out years ago from it’s high quality practices to currently using a chemical in place of real chocolate to save money! You’re not even eating chocolate when you eat Hershey Kisses now. Their scientists found an artificial replacement that has drastically increased their profit., and for them, that seems to be the all important call. Customers’ health doesn’t appear to mean anything to them.

The company (as it is now) relies solely on the former Hershey good name to continue making huge profits from palming off inferior, artificial, chemical laden mounds of molded lab work as ‘chocolate’.

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